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Brisbane, Australia
I'm an Australian author of Contemporary Romance, Romantic Action/Adventure, and Historical fiction. I live in Brisbane, Australia. Visit my website at www.noelleclark.net

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The magic of cuisine

When I think of Capri, I think of many things, but being a lover of food I often think of the cuisine first and foremost.

In Rosamanti, my hero Pietro is a chef. He never set out to be a chef, but life’s twists and turns have landed him in the kitchen at Zia Maria’s restaurant, where he works daily to prepare delicious local meals for the hordes of tourists and day-trippers to the Italian island. But as the story unfolds, it’s clear that food is his passion. But not just any food. Pietro has a deep love for traditional, local dishes, made with fresh produce sourced from local producers.

I’m not saying anymore – you’ll have to wait until November 29th, when Rosamanti is released through Etopia Press to find out more. But just to whet your appetite, here are a few of mine – and Pietro’s – favourite Caprese dishes. Buon appetito!

Insalata Caprese is a simple salad usually served as an antipasto (starter) made of sliced fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and basil, and seasoned with salt and olive oil. See the recipe here.

Ravioli Caprese is the island’s signature dish. Fresh, hand-made pasta ravioli pillows are filled with locally made caciotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and marjoram, and served with  fresh tomato sauce and tossed in melted butter and sage. For an extra taste bud extravaganza, fry them. Recipe from http://www.capri.net/en/recipes
RavioliRavioli, filled with caciotta and Parmesan cheese and marjoram, is the Island of Capri's signature dish. Prepared in all of the kitchens of Capri, according to age-old recipes handed down from generation to generation. Much loved by both adults and children, the ravioli are served with a fresh tomato sauce or tossed in melted butter and sage. When fried, they provide a delicious starter.
To make the ravioli place the flour in a mound on a flat surface. Make a crater in the middle and pour the olive oil and hot water into it. Work together to obtain a compact dough. Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the caciotta, parmesan cheese and the marjoram. On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out a quarter of the mixture into a thin sheet. On half of the sheet, place teaspoonfuls of the cheese mixture, positioning the balls about 6cms apart. Take the other half of the sheet and cover the first half. Proceed to separate the ravioli, cutting around each ball with either a ravioli cutter or a glass, with a diameter of roughly 4 to 5cms. Repeat the procedure with each of the remaining quarters of the dough.
Once you have finished making the ravioli, place them to one side (taking care not to put them one on top of the other), on a flat surface, which has been dusted with flour or on clean teacloths. Cook the ravioli in boiling water for five minutes and serve with a fresh tomato sauce (see recipe for Chiummenzana), Parmesan cheese, and a few leaves of basil. Alternatively, the ravioli can be fried in hot oil until the pasta turns a light golden color. Serve hot.

Ingredients for 4 people
  • For the pasta: 500 gr. flour, 2 table spoons of olive oil, half litre of boiling water
  • For the filling: 300 gr. Caciotta di Sorrento cheese (grated), 2 eggs, 200 gr. grated Parmesan cheese, marjoram
  • For the sauce:: Fresh tomato sauce, grated parmesan cheese, fresh basil, olive oil

Totani ripieni (stuffed cuttlefish) – the cuttlefish have a similar taste and texture to calamari but have a stronger flavour. Cuttlefish form part of the staple diet of local Caprese, and are caught at night in the sea around Capri. On summer evenings, it is easy to spot the flickering lights of the boats heading out for the night’s catch. The stuffing consists of local caciotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and tomatoes. Recipe from http://www.capri.net/en/recipes
Totani ripieni (stuffed cuttlefish)This dish is perfect as either first or second course. Clean the cuttlefish and remove tentacles, making sure not to break the cuttlefish's body, which will be stuffed. In a pan, lightly fry the garlic in olive oil and cook the tentacles (cut into little pieces). In a bowl mix the eggs, Parmesan, caciotta, chopped parsley and cuttlefish tentacles. Use this mixture to fill the cuttlefish body and seal together with a cocktail stick. In a saucepan prepare some tomato sauce and then add the stuffed cuttlefish. Cook for 20 minutes. The sauce can also be used with pasta.

Ingredients for 4 people
  • 1 kg. of cuttlefish
  • 500 gr. tomatoes
  • 1 small grated Caciotta cheese
  • 100 gr. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Parsley

Come along and spend some time with Pietro and Sarah at Villa Rosamanti. You’ll get to sample homemade goats cheese from the milk of Geraldina; eat the eggs from the Rosamanti chickens; and sample the home-made wine. No reservations necessary.

Rosamanti – out on November 29th

 

4 comments:

  1. Isn't Italian food wonderful! Great share, Noelle. Think I'll have Italian tonight.

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    1. Hi Susanne. Yes, I love the fact it's so easy to cook well at home. Making fresh pasta is one of the most satisfying things I've done - it remains so tender and silky when it's cooked for just a few minutes. Yum. Making me hungry. :-)

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